Adult articular cartilage presents poor intrinsic capacity for regeneration, and after injury, cellular or biomaterial-based therapeutic platforms are required to assist repair promotion. Cartilage tissue engineering (CTE) aims to produce cartilage-like tissues that recreate the complex mechanical, biophysical and biological properties found in vivo. In terms of biomaterials used for CTE, three-dimensional (3D) self-assembling peptide scaffolds (SAPS) are very attractive for their unique properties, such as biocompatibility, optional possibility of rationally design cell-signaling capacity, biodegradability and modulation of its biomechanical properties. The most attractive cell types currently used for CTE are autologous chondrocytes and adult stem cells. The use of chondrocytes in cell-based therapies for cartilage lesions is limited by quantity and requires an in vitro 2D expansion, which leads to cell dedifferentiation. In the present chapter, we report the development of heparin-, chondroitin sulfate-, decorin-, and poly(ε-caprolactone)-based self-assembling peptide composite scaffolds to promote re-differentiation of expanded human articular chondrocytes and induction of adipose-derived stem cells to chondrogenic commitment.
Part of the book: Cartilage Tissue Engineering and Regeneration Techniques